More than 700 inmates have gone on the run from Doncaster’s jails since 2000, figures show.
Government statistics reveal 710 prisoners have escaped Doncaster jails since 2000, with 50 escaping in the year up to June 30, 2014. Seven are on the run at present.
Only six are officially recorded as ‘escapes’, with the rest of the total made up of 519 people who ‘absconded’ plus another 185 who failed to return on time after being granted temporary release.
Doncaster MPs, councillors and residents have hit out at the figures, claiming more needs to be done to clampdown on the problem and protect public safety.
Justice minister Andrew Selous said: “Absconds have reached record lows under this Government - falling by more than 80 per cent in the last 10 years - but we have not been complacent and have made major changes to tighten up the system.
“Following a comprehensive review we have tightened the eligibility for open prisons and are taking a range of steps to help lower the numbers further.
“Open prisons and temporary licence are important tools in rehabilitating long-term offenders but they will not be used at the expense of public safety.”
Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “It is vital we have only low risk offenders in our open prisons, where there are not locks and bars. I firmly believe in extending the sentences for those who do abscond.”
There were three escapes from HMP Doncaster, Hatfield Open Prison had 501 absconds and 177 temporary release failures and HMP Lindholme had three escapes, 18 absconds and eight release failures.